SUMMER is almost OVER!
If you’re like many of the parent’s I’ve spoken with this week then you’re probably just as shocked that the summer has FLOWN by!
And that means BACK TO SCHOOL season is COMING.
Let’s get REAL for a second. Back to school means new clothes, new books, utensil, and all those neat bells and whistles. It also means back to a hodge-podge social environment.
For many kids returning to school, this may also mean: Back to Bullies
Typically, as a Martial Arts instructor, this is where I tell you to come take classes where your child will develop leadership, confidence, self-esteem and become bully-proof. While all of that is true, I want to break from the norm and talk to those who aren’t necessarily LOOKING for a martial arts class for their child and ask:
HOW will you know if YOUR child is being BULLIED?
There are many types of bullying prevalent among kids these days. Let’s focus on PHYSICAL BULLYING.
First, understand that many children will not tell their parents when it happens (scary thought, right!?), but here are some warning signs you can watch out for…
Evidence of physical bullying can include unexplained cuts and bruises, damaged clothing or missing belongings. That’s the EASY stuff. Other warning signs are not as easy to detect and can often be easily dismissed or missed altogether. If your child exhibits the following signs, they may be experiencing physical bullying:
- Refusal to go to school
- Frequent stomach aches or headaches
- Changes in eating habits
- Avoiding social interactions after school
- Afraid of riding the bus
- Sudden change in school performance
So, WHAT DO YOU DO if your child is being BULLIED?
First off, many top anti-bullying advocates advise against setting a face to face meeting with the other child. Instead, start a casual conversation with your child to try and find out what is happening and when. As you do this it is imperative that you keep your emotions in check so that you can emphasize the value of open communication. If you fly off the handlebars it may dissolve the feeling of trust and security between you and your child.
Next, be sure to document the dates, times, and actions of all those involved so that you have a record should things take a turn for the worst. Finally, don’t hesitate to contact the teacher or relevant school staff for help. Many parents don’t want to “bother” the teachers or may think that the teachers just don’t care. Both of which cannot be further from the truth since many teachers strive to make their classrooms a safe space for all their students. If your child is frequently being physically bullied additional assistance may be required, in which case, you may need to contact local law enforcement.
Take a deep breath.
Chances are your child will be just fine and will thoroughly enjoy their new school year but it never hurts to stay informed =)